Columns on fashion, culture and ideas

Women's Fashion / In Pictures

The Body Language of A/W12 Campaigns

In Pictures is a still and moving image gallery for significant works, events and places

Vivienne Westwood Red Label A/W12 featuring Stella Tennant, photography by Juergen Teller
Vivienne Westwood Red Label A/W12 featuring Stella Tennant, photography by Juergen Teller

AnOther invites resident body language expert Dr Nicola Davies to analyse the non-verbal strategies of this season’s most unique and thought-provoking campaigns...

To expand upon last week’s body language of S/S13 front row, we turn our attention to the A/W12 campaigns for Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Prada and Saint Laurent Paris.

In an ad campaign, a model uses body language to communicate the designer’s creative vision. According to psychologists, all human communication is 20% verbal and as much as 80 percent non-verbal. Since an image is 100 percent non-verbal, AnOther invites resident body language expert Dr Nicola Davies to analyse the non-verbal strategies of this season’s most unique and thought-provoking campaigns.

Stella Tennant’s enigmatic pose in the Vivienne Westwood campaign portrays a feeling of satisfaction and pride. Her open body language, with reclining posture and angled legs, invites the gaze of onlookers.

Alexander McQueen A/W12 featuring Suvi Koponen, styled by Camilla Nickerson, photography by David Sims
Alexander McQueen A/W12 featuring Suvi Koponen, styled by Camilla Nickerson, photography by David Sims
Within the Alexander McQueen campaign, Suvi Koponen strikes a mannequin pose. Her upward arms and leg positioning signal a reluctance to traverse forward, possibly due to her covered eyes. The airy upward placement of her arms mirrors the plushness of the ostrich fur.

Louis Vuitton A/W12 featuring Julia Nobis, Magda Laguinde and Marie Piovesan, styled by Karl Templer, photography by Steven Meisel
Louis Vuitton A/W12 featuring Julia Nobis, Magda Laguinde and Marie Piovesan, styled by Karl Templer, photography by Steven Meisel
On the ‘Louis Vuitton Express’, Magda Laguinde looks interested in the passing scenery, while Julia Nobis and Marie Piovesan exhibit boredom or deep thinking, as indicated by the absence of expression. Hair-play can signal relaxation or boredom, both of which suggest this fashion range is for women with time on their hands.

Stella McCartney A/W12 featuring Natalia Vodianova, styled by Jane Howe, photography by Mert & Marcus
Stella McCartney A/W12 featuring Natalia Vodianova, styled by Jane Howe, photography by Mert & Marcus
By holding the clutch to her face with a longing, thoughtful upward gaze and pursed lips, Natalia Vodianova is communicating the desire to own Stella McCartney’s creation.

Miu Miu A/W12 featuring Chloe Sevigny, styled by Katie Grand, photography by Mert & Marcus
Miu Miu A/W12 featuring Chloe Sevigny, styled by Katie Grand, photography by Mert & Marcus
In the Miu Miu campaign, Chloe Sevigny's pose demonstrates masculine/feminine tension. With firmly closed lips, she strongly directs her focus towards the camera, communicating sensuality by removing the menswear tie, straddling her legs around the arm rest and lifting one bent knee upwards. This demonstrates the seductiveness of the range.

Marc Jacobs A/W12 featuring Marte Mei Van Haaster and Marie Piovsan, styled by Alister Mackie, photography by Juergen Teller
Marc Jacobs A/W12 featuring Marte Mei Van Haaster and Marie Piovsan, styled by Alister Mackie, photography by Juergen Teller
The Marc Jacobs women’s campaign portrays a sense of intimacy during dehydration and hardship. Marte Mei Van Haaster looks faint with partially opened eyes and mouth, while leaning on an unassuming Marie Piovsan. Makeup accentuates signs of dehydration with pale faces and oversized dark circles; it is the clothing that keeps these models ‘alive.’

Givenchy A/W12 featuring Stella Tennent and Simone Nobili, styled by Katy England, photography by Mert & Marcus
Givenchy A/W12 featuring Stella Tennent and Simone Nobili, styled by Katy England, photography by Mert & Marcus
Yin and yang’s ‘law of unity of the opposites’ is portrayed in the Givenchy campaign. The conjoined legs signify ‘unity,’ while Stella Tennent’s two poses indicate ‘opposites.’ On the left side, she actively leans back, with open stance and gestures. On the right, her passive, limited, visual focus suggests no engagement with surroundings. Whatever your mood, this fashion range will fit you.

Prada A/W12 featuring Gary Oldman, Jamie Bell, Garrett Hedlund and Willem Dafoe, styled by Olivier Rizzo, photography by David Sims
Prada A/W12 featuring Gary Oldman, Jamie Bell, Garrett Hedlund and Willem Dafoe, styled by Olivier Rizzo, photography by David Sims
The Prada campaign seeks to appeal to every man. Gary Oldman (L) appears closed-off, by looking away with hands tucked deeply into his pockets. Conversely, Willem Dafoe (R) demonstrates confidence and authority, with a stern facial disposition and clasping of the hands in front of the body. Jamie Bell and Garrett Hedlund offer pleasant, relaxed poses.

Saint Laurent Paris A/W12 featuring Christopher Owens, styling and photography by Hedi Slimane
Saint Laurent Paris A/W12 featuring Christopher Owens, styling and photography by Hedi Slimane
In the Saint Laurent Paris campaign, by lying down, this pose highlights the garment and brand’s cool, laid-back vibe. Christopher Owens shows additional relaxation by tilting the head to one side with a hand resting behind it. His parted lips may signal attraction.

Text by Dr Nicola Davies

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates